the words Rebuild Downtown Rock Island Illinois graphic overlayed on top of an arial shot of Downtown Rock Island

Rock Island seeks muralists for Arts Alley

The Rock Island Downtown Alliance and Quad City Arts are seeking two artists (or artist teams) for the design and installation of two public murals on exterior walls in Rock Island, Illinois. The murals will be created on separate concrete walls (one east-facing and one west-facing) in Arts Alley, a pedestrian area at 1719 2nd Avenue in the core of downtown. Together, the walls encompass more than 4,000 square feet.

mock up of arts ally

“It’s hard to convey in digital renderings the impact these large-scale murals will have on both the downtown streetscape and the downtown economy as well,” said Jack Cullen, Executive Director of the Rock Island Downtown Alliance. “We believe these improvements, paired with plans to program Arts Alley, will bring more foot traffic downtown, and we are thrilled to take this next step with Quad City Arts and the City of Rock Island.”

Interested and qualified artists are encouraged to complete the Request for Qualifications by Wednesday, February 21, 2024, at 5:00 pm. Finalists will be selected based on qualifications and invited to submit designs. The Downtown Alliance and Quad City Arts will work with the building owners in Arts Alley and the City of Rock Island’s Arts & Beautification Commission to review proposals and seek public input during the selection process.

“Nationally, cultural tourism is on the rise,” said Kevin Maynard, Executive Director of Quad City Arts. “We are happy to help organizations in the Quad Cities bring more art to our community. This project is extra special because it is literally right outside our door. We are excited to focus on creative placemaking with the Rock Island Downtown Alliance and the City of Rock Island.”

The renovation of Arts Alley is one major component of the larger Rebuild Downtown Rock Island Project with work slated to begin this spring. Other planned improvements to Arts Alley include a decorative walkway, lighting and signage; space for social gatherings and performances; weatherproof vendor stalls for seasonal pop-up shop programs; and additional art installations.  The total budget for the improvements to Arts Alley is just over $534,000, with half of the project’s costs being funded by a $267,000 State of Illinois Tourism Attractions grant. The City of Rock Island is primarily funding the remaining costs with a combination of Downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District funds and American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

About Quad City Arts
Quad City Arts is a nonprofit local arts agency dedicated to enriching the quality of life in the Quad City region through the arts.

About the Rock Island Downtown Alliance
The Rock Island Downtown Alliance formed in 2023 as a joint effort between the public and private sectors to strengthen livability and quality of place in downtown Rock Island. The Downtown Alliance, an affiliate of the Quad Cities Chamber, partnered with the City of Rock Island to staff, manage and implement Downtown Special Service Area (SSA) programs.